Working with Military Chaplains

Caring for Chaplains

Military chaplains function throughout their careers in multiple categories. The basic two categories, presbyteries will deal with are chaplains in the reserve and guard programs dwelling within their home presbyteries and chaplains who are activated or on active duty serving away from their home presbyteries.


Chaplains serving in these categories typically are working within the boundaries of the presbytery. They should be active members of the presbytery and in good standing. Because of the nature of their military service, they need to ensure their military situation is clearly identified with their term of calls.  (Sample Mobilization Agreement 2002) Issues that need to be identified with the congregation include status with the congregation when performing duties, responsibilities and legal ramifications if the chaplain is activated. (PCUSA: USERRA BOP Paper)

The church and presbytery gain in this relationship by having an individual who is receiving additional training on a regular schedule.  Benefit by having a minister actively and regularly engaged in mission to a highly unchurched population and young adult culture. Chaplains are frequently trained to be trainers in suicide intervention skills, crisis intervention, stress management methods, and marriage preparation/enrichment programs. In addition, military chaplains often function as staff officers on commander staffs, developing great administrative skills that can assist a church and presbytery. Because of the religious pluralism of the military, chaplains also gain great understanding and working relationships with individuals from other faith groups and denominations

For hard to fill small or rural congregations, the reserve/guard chaplaincy can offer a win/win solution. Currently several presbyteries have and are considering ordaining individuals as they complete seminary to reserve or national guard chaplaincies. The chaplain is installed with the congregation while at the same time performing duties with the military. The church gets a part time pastor, the pastor gains work and pastoral experience. This is a presbytery decision, but one might be beneficial for the church and pastor.


The second categories are chaplains serving on active orders.  Typically when chaplains are activated, it removes them from inside the boundaries of presbytery. This category includes, career active duty chaplains, mobilized reserve and guard chaplains.

Chaplains who desire to serve on active duty typically look to complete at least a 20-year career with the military. For those who are seeking to serve in this category, all military services require a minimum of 2 years post ordination experience. If you have a chaplain who is on active duty, please realize they are still a member of your presbytery and must fulfill your requirements and expectations. We require them to submit a report to us annually on their birth month, and we expect them to submit reports to you as well.

All activated chaplains of the PCUSA denomination will conform with G-2.0503. They are not exempt from this requirement. We highly encourage Presbytery’s COM to stay connected to their chaplains, and we will collaborate with you to ensure this is accomplished.

Mobilized reserve and guard chaplains are activated for several reasons and perform several different duties. The most common situation is a military unit deploying to a combat area or providing assistance in disaster relief efforts. We would greatly appreciate a working relationship with the Committee on Ministry in the presbytery to ensure support to the individual and their families. We will gladly talk with the COM about how that support can take place.

Working with VA Chaplains

Working with Seminarians

If you currently serve as an endorsed chaplain or chaplain candidate, this section is to help you.  We have listed here information that you need to navigate policies, and guidance.  Also listed here are resources and report forms that will help you and your ministry.


Currently serving chaplains, regardless of status, are required to attend a credentialing event at least once every three years, unless prevented by mission requirements. All currently serving chaplains will be supported in the maintenance of their professional credentials and ecclesiastical standing through attendance and participation in these mandatory events.

This summer we will hold the 2023 version of the Chaplain Training and Credentialing event in two locations –

West Coast – Calvin Crest Conferences outside Oakhurst, CA – June 26-30

East Coast – Montreat Conference Center in Montreat NC – August 7-11

Montreat Conference Center Information:

Montreat registration will open soon. Click here for registration

Montreat Conference Center, Chaplain Credentialing and Training Event 2023 MOI (Click here)

Calvin Crest Information: June 26 - 30, 2023

Calvin Crest registration is now open. Please see below for instructions for registration. Please note PFC authorized dates are Monday, 26 June through Friday, 30 June 2023.

Instructions for Registration: Click here: Calvin Crest Registration Online

    1. Create a login for yourself/family here:  Click here: Calvin Crest Register Online *Note: If you have come to Calvin Crest before only with PFC, you will need to create a new account. If you have come to a Calvin Crest hosted summer program before and have account info, you can use that to login. If you have any questions about whether you have an active account with us, feel free to call our office at 559-772-4040.
    2. Add each member of your family that will be coming with you as a "camper" (this includes spouses)
    3. Enroll each member of your family- this will be done one at a time. You will go through the whole process, including checkout and payment for one person, then do this same process for each member of your family. Beginning with yourself, click the "Enroll for 2023" button, then select the option "Presbyterian Federal Chaplains Family Camp: June 26-30, 2023" and your age, then scroll down to the bottom of the page and click "Save and Continue"
      1. For each person, you will complete the application questions. Just once per family, you will choose which lodging option you would like and if you'll be joining us on Sunday (5 nights) or Monday (4 nights). PFC's primary lodging is the Cedar Lodge. Note: we hope you'll join us for Calvin Crest's full Family Camp programming which begins on Sunday! Note that if you choose to join us on Sunday, the difference in cost between the 4 night and 5 night rates will not be covered by PFC since PFC's program begins on Monday.
      2. Next, complete the Medical Forms for the individual you are registering, then check out.
      3. Check Out: Please select "Deposit Only" for yourself and pay the $100 deposit to secure your families spot. For each other adult family member, you can select the "Mail Check" Option, which will allow you to finish their registration without paying additional deposit amounts.

Final payments will be due upon arrival at Calvin Crest. If you have any questions or need assistance throughout the process, don't hesitate to reach out to our office at 559-772-4040.

Calvin Crest Memorandum of Instruction (MOI), Chaplain Credentialing and Training Event 2023 (Click here)

Calvin Crest Additional Information: (Click Here To Download)

Post 2021 Training and Credentialing Resources

The 2021 Training and Credentialing Event is now complete. People were able to participate either in person or virtually via Zoom.

Videos Available - If you were not able to attend you may view the videos of the devotionals and training at our Group page on Facebook - Presbyterian Federal Chaplaincies.

Join our group - if you have not joined our Facebook group please do so. Search Presbyterian Federal Chaplaincies and you should be welcomed as a member. If not, ask to join and we will approve. We hope this group will be useful now and into the future.


1/27/21 Chaplains All Access January 2021 Meeting Slides Click here

April 30, 2020: With gratitude to the presenters listed below, the previously recorded presentation "MORAL RESILIENCE IN MEDICAL WORKERS DURING COVID-19" Webinar Training is offered via the following link: Access Password: E5@20J^?

Download PDF Webinar Outline and Resources Handout:

Webinar Overview: Moral injury is happening all around us as COVID-19 ravages lives all across the nation. Our medical teams are especially at risk. We are here to help, in real time, by providing information about what kinds of things put people at risk, how to maintain moral resilience in the crisis, and what can be done in the aftermath to help people process their experiences. Participants in this online discussion will receive information in a "tool kit" for coping in the midst of the pandemic and after.

Presented by

Dr. Rita Brock
Senior Vice President and Director of the Shay Moral Injury Center
at Volunteers of America

Dr. Cynda Hylton Rushton
Anne and George L. Bunting Professor of Clinical Ethics in
the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics and the
School of Nursing

Moderated by Rev. Dr. Al Boyce
Chaplain, Volunteers of America Northern New England

April 14, 2020: “Crisis Support in the Midst of a Pandemic” PRESENTED BY: South Carolina Law Enforcement Assistance Program

Please click on the link to begin training:




Note: Posting of these websites in no way constitutes an endorsement by the Presbyterian Federal Chaplaincy of their content or a guarantee of their usefulness.

 Link to Military Chaplains Association (MCA)



Dennis Hysom

Doug Slater


Contact Presbyterian Federal Chaplaincies

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